16 In Main Courses/ Soups

Garlic and Kale Soup

I’m usually the one to use superlatives, but this time it was Alex who called this the “best soup ever”. Granted, he was probably making fun of me, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this soup is one of our favorites – and darn good!  It’s a great way to use seasonal ingredients, with winter being prime time for hardy greens like kale (if you’re local, try the winter farmer’s market).

Even better is the delicious flavor that the garlic (20 cloves of it!) brings to this broth, along with the savory shiitake mushrooms. While this is good news for garlic-philes like ourselves (and for your health!), don’t be dissuaded if you’re not a garlic lover. Somehow, the taste isn’t overly strong, but softens into a savory goodness. I wasn’t even left with garlic breath! (I promise.)  Give it a try, and let me know if my love for this stuff has clouded my tastebuds :)

Garlic and Kale Soup
The large amount of garlic in this recipe is not a typo; it mellows into a savory but not overpowering flavor for the broth.
Serves: 6 to 8
What You Need
  • 20 cloves garlic
  • 5 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 pound broad leaf kale (2 bunches)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar
  • 10 cups vegetable broth
  • ⅔ cup farro (or barley)
  • Kosher salt
What To Do
  1. Thinly slice 20 cloves garlic. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and thinly slice them. Remove the stems from the kale leaves and coarsely chop.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a bit of kosher salt, then sauté beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Add ⅓ cup rice vinegar; simmer, stirring, until vinegar is almost evaporated.
  3. Add 10 cups vegetable broth and ⅔ cup farro to the pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add the kale and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the kale is tender. Season to taste with kosher salt.


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  • Reply
    foodies at home
    January 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Wow…no garlic breath? I’m impressed…my coworkers will thank you after I eat this one evening!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    oooo, I love garlic and this soup looks delightful! wow, 20 cloves??

  • Reply
    January 20, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Thanks for the rec about it not being too garlicly. I love garlic but garlic-based soups kind of freak me out. This sounds like a perfect wintry-soup. Also, how do you do the veggie stock? Do you buy liquid stock, make it from scratch, or use bouillon cubes?

  • Reply
    January 21, 2011 at 9:53 am

    The photograph captures every savory spoonful. I relish the idea of using seasonal vegetables and this recipe is a terrific way to bring more kale to the table.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Hello, love your blog and this is a great recipe!

    Have you ever blog hopped before? We’d love it if you contributed this awesome soup recipe to our blog hop on favorite soups, it’s a great way to get links back to your site. Really easy too.

    You can check out our blog hop here:


  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    The best soup ever?!? That is SOME endorsement! I am looking forward to trying it!!!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I came across your posting and printed off your Kale & Garlic and your Split Pea Soups. I made the Kale & Garlic tonight and it was WONDERFUL! I couldn’t find the farro, so used the barley. We have a wonderful garlic press – that will mince or slice and it was fun being able to finally use the slice part of the garlic press. I followed the recipe exactly as directed. Next time, I’ll probably add a sweet onion sliced and cook it in with the garlic.
    Thank you :-}}

  • Reply
    Caramel Wings
    January 24, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Wow, this looks appetizing, need to try it!!!

  • Reply
    January 26, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Considering I couldn’t find Kale anywhere in the country that I live… I decided to substitute with Cabbage and it was still delicious. I testify that there was no garlic breath and I put in more than 20 actually! Thanks for this recipe… perfect for a cold night!

  • Reply
    June 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Hey, guys!

    Working for Basic Roots Community Foods, I’m up to my ears in kale.

    I think I heard one of you mention your site at a Indy Food Farm and Family Coalition meetup sometime recently. Trying to find a decent kale-soup recipe that DIDN’T require potatoes, I just stumbled across this here. Small web.

    I figured I’d leave you a comment given all that.

    I’m going to go make this now.

    See you ’round
    – Patch

    • Reply
      June 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      Hi! I don’t think we were at the meetup – but glad you found our site! Reading up on the Indy Food, Farm, and Family Coalition now…

  • Reply
    March 11, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    How have I not commented on this yet? This has become my go-to soup. I am a self described foodie with a horrible lazy streak. Unfortunately so, most of my “gourmet” meals are enjoyed as take-out, or a frozen meal for one. I discovered this soup during a rainy spell when I needed a healthy, tastes like it came from a restaurant but I can eat it for a week, kind of meal. This recipe is a god-send! Never (outside of baking sweets) has my house smelled so good. I cannot get enough of this soup, and being a meat-lover, I do not miss it in this total vegetarian/vegan dish! I recommend it all the time to friends and family, and all have fallen in love too. Sorry for being so wordy… I just really love this soup!

    • Reply
      March 13, 2012 at 7:46 am

      Haha! Wow — I never knew that one of our recipes could become so beloved! Thanks for letting us know; we love to hear when a recipe hits the spot :)

  • Reply
    Emily Shalbrack
    February 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Made this for lunch today. Didn’t have the right shrooms so subbed crimini instead. I added white onion, some ground white pepper and topped it with some stringy mozzarella. Will DEFINITELY make again. Delicious, very fresh, vibrant dish

  • Reply
    January 26, 2016 at 1:59 am

    I followed the directions, it looks really full of barley, it doesn’t look like the brothy soup in the picture. I didn’t have the shitaki so substituted. I didn’t have the rice vinigar and substituted cider. Vegetable broth? Sorry I don’t keep that in stock, who does. If you have to go out and buy $40 WORTH OF GROCERIES TO MAKE SOUP, SOMETHING IS WRONG.
    I’d cut that batrley down maybe to 1/4 cup if you like your soup brothy.
    I tell you though, even not following the recipe, using what I had on hand, it tastes pretty good, and I like the healthy foods in it. I bet the excact recipe is really tastey,

    • Reply
      January 31, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t quite as expected, but I’m glad you found it tasted good! We’ve made it several times with good results.

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